Another NJ Lake Could Make You Sick, Give You Rashes
State officials are warning not to touch the water in another New Jersey lake — as harmful algae blooms could make people sick or give them rashes.
The Spruce Run Recreation Area in Clinton is under an advisory after algae blooms were first spotted in early June. The state Department of Environmental Protection warns people not "drink or have contact with the water including, but not limited to, swimming, wading and water sports."
Fish from the reservoir shouldn't be eaten, and pets shouldn't drink the water, the DEP said.
Cyanobacteria harmful algae blooms can discolor the water or produce floating mats or "scums" on surface, the DEP says. Significant blooms may harm fish and other organisms in the water.
The advisory remains in effect among repeated warnings to stay out of Lake Hopatcong, straddling the Morris and Sussex County obrders. There have been more than 30 reports of harmful algal bloom at the North Jersey lake since June 17, including incidents of mild skin rashes. Exposure to the blooms may cause allergy-like reactions, flu-like symptoms, gastroenteritis, respiratory irritation and eye irritation.
On Friday, state Department of Environmental Protection officials said the current bloom in the state's largest lake is the worst case in recent memory.
HAB occurs when cyanobacteria blooms produce a thick, bright green scum on the surface of the lake. It can also appear as “spilled paint” or “pea soup.” This appearance is often taken for granted as a normal algae bloom.
The DEP says HAB could be a result of recent heavy rainfall carrying nutrient-rich stormwater into the lake, followed by spans of warm weather.
The DEP began aerial surveillance of the lake Wednesday and will continue to monitor the lake until it is safe. That could take all summer.
In the meantime, the DEP warns against having any contact with the water.
"The borough of Hopatcong is the entire west shore of Lake Hopatcong," Mayor Mike Francis said Saturday. "This is devastating to our town. We have marinas and restaurants and a lot of activity on the lake that brings in a lot of money to the state in taxes. What do I tell the people who have lakefront homes that pay huge taxes because of the value of their property? You can't use the lake that you pay so much money for."
— With previous reporting by Dan Alexander